Leeds United Season Guide
Nickname: The Lillywhites or United
Ground: Elland Road, Leeds, LS11 0ES
Ticket Office: (0113) 226 1000; firstname.lastname@example.org
Home - All white
Away - All yellow; or all navy blue with white pin-stripes
Soccernet's Leeds United page | Full squad | Fixture list
Soccernet's Leeds United Correspondent
Official Leeds Website
Unofficial site - Doctor Gary's Leeds United site
Unofficial site - Leeds Mad
Fan Site - Leeds United Fan Club Fan Site - leedsfans.co.uk
|Last Season - Crisis club||Position: 15th|
In March 2003, with the club embroiled in a basement battle, manager Terry Venables was sacked. As a parting shot the one time TV pundit laid the blame for Leeds nightmare season squarely on the shoulders of chairman Peter Ridsdale - suggesting that if he knew he would lose six internationals in Rio Ferdinand (£30m), Jonathan Woodgate (£9m), Robbie Keane (£7m), Robbie Fowler (£6m), Lee Bowyer (100k) and Olivier Dacourt (loan) to the club's crippling debt he would not have taken the job. Later that month Ridsdale himself resigned after Leeds declared interim pre-tax loses of £17.2m, to add to a debt of £78.9m. Professor John McKenzie took control of the club and along with caretaker manager Peter Reid avoided relegation - with results including a 6-1 win over Charlton and a victory at Highbury - to earn himself the job full-time. The days of the Champions League semi-finals now seem a long, long time ago.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Jody Morris (Chelsea) - Free
Zoumana Camara (Lens) - Loan
Cyril Chapuis (Marseille) - Loan
Didier Domi (PSG) - Loan
Roque Junior (AC Milan) - Loan
Salomon Olembe (Marseille) - Loan
Jermaine Pennant (Arsenal) - Loan
Lamine Sakho (Marseille) - Loan
Harry Kewell (Liverpool) - £5m
Olivier Dacourt (Roma) - £3.5m
S Candsell-Sherriff (Aarhus) - Nominal
Nigel Martyn (Everton) - Nominal
Thomas Newey (Leyton Orient) - Free
Matthew Kilgannon (West Ham) - Loan
Stephen McPhail (Nottm Forest) - Loan
Danny Mills (Middlesbrough) - Loan
James Milner (Swindon) - Loan
Harpal Singh (Bury) - Loan
Jacob Burns - Released
Paul Okon - Released
|First Choice XI|
1-Paul Robinson; 2-Gary Kelly, 6-Zoumana Camara, 21-Dominic Matteo,
29-Didier Domi; 16-Jason Wilcox, 23-David Batty, 4-Jody Morris, 20-Seth Johnson; 9-Mark Viduka, 17-Alan Smith.
|The Gaffer - Peter Reid|
Peter Reid's most memorable stint as manager came when he rescued Sunderland from the foot of Division One and guided them to the Premiership - Leeds fans will be hoping that he can perform a similar rise from the ashes with their club. Former Everton hero Reid took over at Sunderland in 1995, after being sacked as manger of Manchester City, and won the Division One championship in the 1995/96 campaign. The Black Cats dropped out of the Premiership the following season but in 1999 Reid's team won the Division One title once again. The club went on to reach the top seven of the Premiership in successive seasons and remained in the top flight until he was axed in October 2002. He took over at Leeds as caretaker manager in 2003 and was given the job on a full-time basis after guided the club away from relegation. Not the most glamourous of managers, but he gets the job done in his own style.
|Player to Watch - Michael Bridges|
Michael Bridges joined Leeds for £5million from Sunderland in 1999 and scored 22 goals in his first season before injury blighted his career at Elland Road. Calf and Achilles problems ruled him out for much of his second season, and the next two terms saw the 25-year-old play only nine games after suffering career threatening knee and ankle injuries. After a long road to recovery he is back in the first team squad and should provide a major and necessary boost for Leeds, who only boast Alan Smith and Mark Viduka (for now) as recognised, experienced strikers. Bridges will be re-acquainted with manager Reid, who oversaw his rise at Sunderland until they fell out over a contract wrangle, and will be dying to test himself in the Premiership again.
|Young Gun - Matthew Kilgallon|
Central defender Matthew Kilgallon is earmarked for a big future at Leeds United and this season could see the 19-year-old claim his first senior team start after earning three substitute appearances last term. He made his debut in the UEFA Cup as a substitute for the injured Lucas Radebe - and that could be his ticket to the first team as the South African veteran's aging bones become more injury prone. Kilgallon, who is nicknamed 'Woody' after being likened to former Leeds defender Jonathan Woodgate, has had an active role in pre-season and impressed on his first start against Hull City. Manager Reid will be hoping the youngster will continue his progress from the Academy ranks to ease the defensive problems of his decimated first-team squad.
|From the terraces|
After 'living the dream' Leeds' supporters are now going through the nightmare. The top players are being sold off at derisory prices and new players coming in are either on freebies or HP.
This season is probably the most pessimistic everyone has been since the dark days in the 80's. The only hope is that Reid can galvanise the squad he has and make them play as a team and that there will be three worse clubs in the Premiership!
17-year old James Milner could provide a positive note as the one youngster who can go on and be a true star. He scored a hat-trick for the reserves in pre-season and if Reid selects him regularly, who knows, Leeds' fans may have something to cheer after all.
By Kevin Markey, from Leeds Mad.
It's going to be a testing season for Leeds. This time last year, I was writing how we could be really pushing the top two - how times have changed. Mid table stability will be seen as a success, and realistically that is the best that can be hoped for.
Much will depend on whether Viduka stays, and if he goes, who will replace him. Look out for Matthew Kilgallon, and maybe, just maybe towards the end of the year we may get our first glimpse of 16 year old Aarron Lennon, who is going to be massive.
By Andy Baggott, Soccernet's Leeds United Correspondent.
How times change. It wasn't that long ago that we would be approaching the start of a new season with expectations of a place in Europe at the very least, with a shot at the title not a realistic possibility.
Yet thanks to the efforts of our former chairman, we approach the start of this campaign knowing that a mid-table finish would represent a success for manager Peter Reid.
And if he somehow manages to squeeze us into the top six, expect a statue to be erected in time for the start of the 2004/05 season. In fact, Reid has done an impressive job this summer despite the lack of transfer funds.
Jody Morris could prove to be a real coup of a signing, whilst Zoumana Camara and Didier Domi are both capable of making an impression. This is also a big season for Michael Bridges, who has a chance to re-establish himself as one of the best young strikers in England. Prediction - top ten.
By James Abercrombie, from Fans FC.
|Best - Safety||Worst - Relegation|
Another season of struggle is on the cards as Leeds continue their attempts to balance the books - and that could mean more player sales. Mark Viduka is the player most likely to bring in the big money and his departure would be a huge blow - his goals were the main reason Leeds pulled away from the relegation zone last term. Reid's replacements hardly match up to the departed stars and his squad is still threadbare. A few injuries and the Elland Road outfit could be up the creek without a paddle.